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Youth in the Lead Storytelling Showcase


Watch the showcase here!

Date: Apr 20, 2021

Time: 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM

Price: Free

Earlier this year, youth across California went through a deeply introspective storytelling workshop series facilitated by StoryCenter and hosted by the Partnership. Throughout the process, they built a community of trust with one another as they developed their stories. What resulted was a number of profound digital narratives of trauma and resilience, self-discovery, activism, and finding their voices while supported by Trusted Adults. We invite you to join us for a showcase of four of these stories, created by Deyanira Vargas, Abraham Castillo, Marissa Williams, and Marcella Maggio—a Trusted Adult ally who created her own story alongside youth, and will join us as the host for this virtual event. We are humbled and grateful to share these poignant pieces with you, where presenters will describe their storytelling process and the meaning behind their stories.


Marissa Williams (She/Her/Hers)
Marissa is currently a high school senior at Helix Charter High School. Marissa has been a resident of San Diego for 4 years, but she was born and raised in the bay area of California. She plans on staying in San Diego where she will attend Grossmont community college, then transfer to Howard University where she plans to major in communications. Marissa loves to expand her knowledge about social justice issues by learning more about them and actively being involved in her community. Some of her favorite topics to learn about are the socio-economic status and how that affects their life, agriculture, government, and history of all peoples.

Deyanira Vargas (She/Her/Ella)
My name is Deyanira Priscilla Vargas and I am currently 16 years old and a junior at Warren High School. About a year ago, my poetry book was published, “Turning My Scars Into Stars” which is a 3-chapter poetry book about how I healed from my childhood trauma. Today, I am currently working on bringing awareness to trauma and the healing process. Although I am very young, I am very passionate about spreading awareness and can’t wait to see what I accomplish as a person.

Abraham Castillo (He/Him/His)
Abraham Castillo is a sophomore in high school and a youth activist with Legacy LA and the Invest in Youth Campaign. Abraham has a passion for his community, holistic healing, artivism, and a drive to uplift youth voices. As a leader he seeks to empower other young people and include them in conversations around policies and government practices that impact youth. In his free time, he enjoys creating art that highlights the uniqueness of his community.

Marcella Maggio (She/Her/Hers)
Marcella Maggio is a Prevention Coordinator for the Partnership who is passionate about her work due to her personal Survivor experience. In 2010 Marcella was introduced to the CDC’s ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study and discovered she had no awareness that her childhood trauma contributed to adulthood drama: victim mentality, blaming others, and shaming herself. Through prevention education and support from her community, she learned how to set boundaries and be intentional with consent in relationships.

Today she connects professional studies with personal stories that elevate & motivate audiences to reach their highest potential by mentoring youth & modeling resilience as Trusted Adults.

Marcella is a trained and skilled prevention expert on the experiences of ACEs, Bullying, Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence and their impact of trauma on children and adults. Additionally, she is a member of the Partnership’s Survivor Advisory Committee and a key trainer on their Building Change Together training (an essentials of prevention training for advocates & staff); a graduate of Mid-City CAN’s (Community Advocacy Network) Resident Leadership Academy; and a member of the California Department of Public Health’s Essentials for Childhood (EfC) Initiative.


Jacob Elliott (He/Him/His/Él)
Jacob Liam Elliott is a 2nd-semester college freshman at the Santa Rosa Junior College. He wants to major in psychology to pursue a career in emotional counseling for youth who are affected by family and friends who abuse substances. Jake has said that dating violence is a massive problem in his community and as youth are often conditioned to avoid talking about their traumas surrounding it. As such they are often forced into a cyclical nature of students unable to recognize what an abusive relationship looks like, let alone how to manage the emotional trauma that accompanies that. He wishes to combat the ouroboros of childhood trauma.

Questions? Please contact Jessica Merrill,


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